The majority of IT workers are aware of Steve Ballmer’s “developers, developers, developers” incantation from 2006. Earlier this year Ballmer performed a repeat of Microsoft’s modern day rain dance at BUILD 2011.
Due to this philosophy Microsoft have produced some pretty nice tools for developers and designers. I’m told (admittedly by a more Microsoft orientated HCI designer) that XAML is the dogs bollocks. I don’t really mix with many other UI or HCI designers, so that maybe very biased and it’s out of the scope of things I’m interested in. However generally speaking, I believe that Microsoft are widely considered to be behind when it comes to producing what is considered to be cool and “bleeding edge” - not just in the circles that I roam.
Combine the developer orientated philosophy and what are most likely newer, and younger, employees and I believe you get the Microsoft that the world is seeing today. A Microsoft who is contributing patches to projects that have garnered a reasonable amount of developers attention in the last year - NodeJs and Redis are two that spring to mind immediately - as well as long established projects, including the Linux kernel (I was going to ramble on that one, but I’ll save it for another time).
Paul Querna brought up a related anecdote whilst talking to Venture Beat a few weeks ago; he got into developing after installing Perl on Windows. Ultimately many people hacking together code must be starting from this point because of the sheer pervasiveness of Windows. The loss of these developers as they progress is the issue at hand for the Microsoft of today and the future. Microsoft needs to retain developers on their platforms.
With the world moving into a more cloud-y (bleurgh, I mean SaaS/IaaS/PaaS - delete as appropriate) environment, retaining control over the developer will become increasingly important to Microsoft. After all, if you’re developing on Windows, using the latest and coolest tech, deploying on Windows is a logical, and safe, step for most professional developers. And if the developer wants to run cloud based Windows, where else would you go, other than with the developers of Windows itself? After all, who better understands and importantly has a hot line to the developers and source?
The reason for this, painfully obvious post? Apparently it’s not painfully obvious to some.
Is this something to be worried about? Not yet, and here’s to hoping that it will never be.